Proudly positioned at the apex of Connecticut Avenue, this monumental Beaux Arts residence was constructed in 1908-09 to the plans of the noted local firm of Hornblower and Marshall for local merchandising magnate Alvin Mason Lothrop. The house in its scale, style and site illustrates the wealth, social grandeur and architectural elegance that were the hallmarks of Washington and American society at the turn of the 20th century.
The Beaux Arts style of the mansion exemplifies Washington taste during the early years of the 20th century. The significance of the plan in taking advantage of the site, its dependence on classically-derived motifs, and the use of the refined and white-colored Indiana limestone clearly establish its Beaux Arts association. However, although based on principles derived from the Beaux Arts philosophy, the design of the house illustrates an unusual derivation of historic motifs. More typically, the historic association is derived from French classicism as inspired by the Italian Renaissance, or from the earlier source of Imperial Rome. Here, the specific motif is derived from Italian Renaissance classicism, but it is one borrowed laterally from a strain of design more typically associated with English classicism. The architect's employment of Italian motifs in the attic dormer and entrance architrave is clear; the French variations in the windows and ornamental ironwork is obvious; but the proportions, simple massing, hipped roof, projecting central pavilion and restrained ornament conjure architecture of Georgian England rather than 18th century France.
Due to the use of the building for diplomatic purposes, it has not been possible to gain access to the interior. The interior was reported to have been remodeled in the 1970s, when the building was purchased by the U.S.S.R. to serve as their trade mission center.
DC designation December 16, 1987
National Register listing December 20, 1988